Every type of collector has their own ‘Holy Grail’. That one item that every other person with the same hobby is on the hunt for and would pay through the nose to own. It’s the postage stamp with the planes upside down, the baseball card that only had 100 prints made, the violin made by the Italian master craftsmen before he died.  Video games are still in their infancy compared to most collectible items, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole lot of very expensive and very rare items out there for the most die-hard collector to chase after. Think that the Assassin’s Creed tin box is rare and expensive? Make sure you are sitting down, we’re about to go hunting for the rarest and most sought after items in Video Games.

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Panzer Dragoon Saga

What is it?
Released very late in the ill-fated Sega Saturn’s life, this game is the third of the Panzer Dragoon games. A truly epic RPG spanning four CDs, the game was praised for its game play, epic nature, unique art direction and incredible graphics for it’s time.

Why is it Sought After?
The Sega Saturn is not exactly what you would call a great success story. While it did pretty well in Japan, mostly due to the huge popularity of Sega Arcade games like Daytona and Virtua Fighter, it never really caught on in the west. Over time, the runaway success of Sony’s PlayStation even took the Japanese market from the Sega Saturn, which was the final death knell for Sega’s console.

Because of the Saturn’s lack of success in the west, many games that were popular in Japan, such as the Sakura Taisen series, never made it out of the land of the rising sun. Late in the console’s lifetime, many games that were released in the west were only released in very limited print runs. Panzer Dragoon Saga’s original production run for USA in May 1998 was only 6000 copies. While this was later backed up with another 2 runs of 12,000 copies each, over the last decade the game has only become harder to find. In addition to the already very limited English language copies available, now that the game is recognized as the must have game for any Sega Saturn Collection, people are not willing to part with it for anything but a premium price.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the game is considered to be not only one of the best Sega Saturn games ever made, but perhaps the finest hour of Sega’s very respectable history. The original Sega Saturn prints are also the ONLY way you will be able to play this game the way it was intended. It has never been ported to any other console, and because the Sega Saturn was notoriously hard to program for, emulation of Sega Saturn games is not yet perfect.

Value:
At the time of writing, for the NTSC USA version, you can expect the game to easily be around the USD $200 mark. If it is in very good condition, then you can expect it to possibly reach the USD $300 barrier, and for a factory sealed copy, you can expect to fork out more than USD$350.
The PAL version seems to pop up for sale less often, but for a copy in good condition, including the cardboard casing,  expect prices to start at least around USD $200.


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Marvel Vs Capcom 2

What is it?
Marvel Vs Capcom 2 has to be one of the most popular and loved fighting games out there, originally released in 2000 in Arcades and on Sega’s Dreamcast Console. In 2002, it was then ported to the Xbox and PlayStation 2 consoles as well. Wait a minute, this isn’t some rare, niche title. What’s the deal?

Why is it Sought After?
Somewhat surprisingly, the Xbox and PS2 ports of the game are actually inferior to the Dreamcast original ports. This is because the original arcade hardware was based on Sega’s Naomi board, which was almost identical to the Dreamcast itself.  So what we have here are good ports, but not the best home versions of this game.

While the Dreamcast was the least popular of the three consoles, it had the biggest production run of Marvel Vs Capcom 2. When Capcom made the Xbox and PS2 ports, they needed to cut their production run short as they had lost the Marvel License. With such limited numbers in existence the game had become a real collector’s item. Add in the fact that this is one of the most beloved fighting games of all time, with a massive roster featuring Capcom’s huge library of characters and a large number of Marvel Super Heroes and Villains, and you can see why it’s in pretty high demand.

Value:
The Xbox and PS2 versions of this game (remember these are the inferior ports) brand new can go for as much as USD$350 and $400 (although it’s probably more commonly seen around USD$150 or so), whereas you can still find some used copies being sold for a reasonable USD$50 to $60. (The price would likely have dropped this year with the announcement of Marvel Vs Capcom 2 being released on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network)
The Dreamcast version?  Between USD$25 and $60.

 


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Poly Play

What is it?
During the hey-day of Video Arcades, the US and Japan were busy mass producing world famous gaming machines that would find their way into Arcades, Shopping Centers and Bars all over the world. Defender, Pac-Man, Tempest, Space Invaders, these are all memorable to anyone with a high interest in the history of video games.

Poly Play was the Eastern Bloc’s own home grown arcade cabinet. Made in the German Democratic Republic in 1985, it featured 8 games that included racing, maze and shooting attractions and ran on a Soviet clone of the Zilog Z80 CPU. Unlike the machines of the West, Poly Play was state-owned and put in the lobbies of youth-homes and non-profit clubs.

Why is it Sought After?
Poly play is possibly the only arcade machine to have been commissioned in East Germany. When the Berlin Wall came crashing down, the machines were all recalled to the factories and dismantled. However, a small number of the machines were salvaged. Simon Webb, the curator of Swindon’s Museum of Computing, believes that about 1000 to 1500 may have survived.

As you would expect with any arcade machine, as time goes by, they get less and less likely to remain in working condition. Despite the typically high quality German build of the machine , there aren’t many working examples of it around these days. The models were all hand-built, meaning that sometimes; when parts were scarce, machines would be made differently to others.

Now usually this wouldn’t be too much of an issue. If a copy of Pac Man, the world’s most popular game in the eighties, breaks down, you can find spare parts relatively easy. Finding the Russian chips for Poly Play is significantly harder.

Value:
This isn’t the sort of thing you would find on eBay, so it’s very, very difficult to gauge a price for something like this. Simon Webb has said to BBC that the machine at Swindon’s Museum of Computing is one of only 3 known to exist, and could possibly be priceless.


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